Half a Cup of Blues

Monday, August 22, 2005

Back to School ...

I didn't sleep very well last night. I tossed and turned. I had bizarre dreams. I woke up tired and groggy.

Today was the first day back for the teachers. The aides will be back on Wednesday and the students will come back next Monday. Our classrooms are a wreck since the floors were stripped and waxed. We had meetings all day today so I barely had time to even clean off my desk and chair.

We are a private special education school that specializes in severely emotionally disturbed students ranging from 2nd grade through 12th grade. We also have a special class that handles more severely disabled students through their 22nd birthday. About 80% of our students are co-funded by either their county mental health or other rehabilitative services organization. These students are being funded to receive intensive therapeutic interventions that coincide with the school day. Our meetings today revolved around how we can provide the required amount of academic instructional time and still meet the therapeutic requirements. What a precarious balancing act this is turning out to be. We are supposed to be providing 6 hours of academics and 4 hours of therapy all within the same 6 hour timeframe. Without extreme flexibility and cooperation between both the scholastic and the clinical teams this is simply not going to happen. We are each ethically bound to fight for the preservation of what we are there to do.

We brainstormed and tossed ideas out at the speed of light. Many were shot down as simply not being workable by one side or the other. Some ideas led to other ideas and we just kept rolling the solutions around until it really looked like we had scheduled the day to cover both academics and therapy. There may be kinks that we'll have to iron out as we move along but the spirit of cooperation that I saw this morning gives me a feeling of hope that this will all work out and that the students will get everything that they need in order to make changes and be more successful in their lives and that's really what we're all there for.

I had really been dreading this first week of meetings and trainings.
I'm glad that I was wrong. This was, indeed, a good day.

Today's Plan: Dinner at mom's house and a good night's sleep tonight!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Last Words ...

When I was in my early 20's a friend of mine had a terrible fight with his wife over the phone. She said some incredibly mean things to him in her anger and he started for home to work things out. He never made it. His truck went off the road about a mile from his house and he died from massive head injuries later that evening. Even though they loved each other and had been through some ups and downs she was left with two little boys and the knowledge that she could never take those words back or say she was sorry to him.

That incident made a HUGE impact on me. I don't like fighting to this day. If I can't discuss a problem with someone then I'll walk away and wait until I can. I try to never, ever say words that would leave me in a similar position to the one I described. I try to always leave the people that I care about with positive and loving words since I can't predict when they might be the last ones I'll be allowed to say to them. This is very important to me.

I say all of this because my next-door neighbors, a young couple with a 5-year-old son, had a terrible fight on the phone last night. He pulled up at midnight as she was in her car and preparing to drive away. Their little boy was in the van with his dad. She hit the gas so hard to get around his van that she backed into a steel flatbed trailer and drove it 6 feet backwards into the front of my Ford Explorer. She drove away.

Today she's in the local hospital after an overdose of prescription drugs. I talked to my neighbor and the worry and stress are so visible on his face. I have a broken fog lamp but nothing serious. The steel trailer is dented and his wife's Honda has about $3500 in rear-end damage. Then there are the hospital bills that will begin pouring in. They don't have medical insurance and don't qualify for any assistance since they make decent money between the two of them. Once she's out of the hospital she'll still have to have some counseling to work through what's going on in her life. This is all just "stuff." The important thing is that she'll be okay.

Through the deepest and darkest parts of my depression after Cleve died I knew that death could NOT be a chosen option for me. Not with kids. I couldn't do that. I can't imagine what leads a person to make that choice but I know that it must be a horrible place to be in one's life. I feel so bad for her, for him, and for that adorable little boy who has no idea why his world is so rocky right now.

I told him to just FORGET about my truck. It means nothing compared to what he has going on right now. His focus will be on his family, as it should be. I don't know what the words were that they shared last night as this all happened but, thankfully, they have a chance to make sure that those weren't the LAST words ever to be spoken between them. I hope that they find the words and the love to work through what's going on in their lives.

Today's Plan: Focus on the kind of loving and positive words that last even when they aren't the last ones spoken.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Oh, no! Not me(me)...!!

NewWaveGurly picked this up from Brian and she tagged me so I had to get this up FAST so that I could tag 5 people before Melanie got them!

10 Years Ago Today

I went back to school to get my B.A. in Liberal Studies.

5 Years Ago
I moved from being a fulltime teacher's aide to being the real teacher in a special education classroom!

1 Year Ago
I was deep in the heart of a depression after the death of someone close to me.

I had a frappucino with one of my best friends.

My love comes to town and is bringing a truck load of boxes since he is moving in!

5 Snacks I enjoy
* Hot tea and sourdough toast
* Nachos with REAL melted cheese
* Ice cream
* Cheesecake
* Cheese toast

5 Bands That I Know The Lyrics to Most of Their Songs
* Eagles
* Wailin' Jennys
* Sarah MacLachlan
* Chris Isaak
* Gordon Lightfoot

5 Things I Would Do With $100,000,000
* Set up college trust funds for the Goobers
* Buy property, build Yibbyl a lake, plan and build our dream house
* Travel the world
* Set up free literacy workshops for teens & adults
* Publish the books that my friends write

5 Locations I'd Like To Run Away To
* New Zealand
* South Africa
* Chile
* Canada
* Alaska

5 Habits I Have
* RadioParadise.com
* Blogging
* Collecting shoes
* Thrift store/yard sale shopping
* Procrastinating

5 Things I Like Doing
* Cooking
* Camping
* Reading
* Snuggling
* Traveling

5 Things I Would Never Wear
* Blue hair
* Nose ring
* Wig
* Cheap nylons
* Leather pants

5 TV Shows I Like
* West Wing
* CSI (all of them)
* House
* Law & Order (all of them)
* Numbers

5 Movies I Like
* The Princess Bride
* The Shawshank Redemption
* The Green Mile
* The Power of One
* Rocky Horror Picture Show

5 Famous People I'd Like To Meet
* Sarah MacLachlan
* Chris Isaak
His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso
* Nelson Mandela
* James Patterson

5 Biggest Joys At The Moment
* The Goobers
* Yibbyl
* RadioParadise.com
* My Students
* Memories of Reinstock

5 Favorite Toys
* My dell
* My 4x4
* My Sony boombox
* My digital camera
* My silicone bakeware

5 Tag Teamers
* Yibbyl (I wanna know everything there is to know!)
* Jason (This is gonna be GOOD!)
* BHD (She doesn't have enough to do right now!)
* Jay (He has too much free time right now!)
* Jennnn (She needs to be initiated into blogging tag!)

Monday, August 15, 2005

It's back ...

My computer!

It tooks hours of frustration and about 500 reboots but it began when Goober #1, Kevin, asked to play around with it and see what he could do. Well, he managed to bypass the error message and log onto Windows as an alternate user but when we moved the tower back to my desk it took 3 hours to get back to that point and get it back to windows. What a nightmare!

But we didn't give up and finally we made it back in. By then I had seen that reboot message so many times that I knew it was a bad registry file that was hanging the darn thing up and not a fried harddrive like we had feared. With Yibbyl's help we managed to restore the system settings to a pre-breakdown date and then BINGO! It's all better and back to normal and all it cost me was a lot of time and some frustration.

Thank you Kevin and Kurt!

Today's plan: Cold Stone treats on me this weekend for my wonderful guys!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The greatest music on the internet is at...

Try it...
You'll LOVE it!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Emotional Vampires ...

They suck.

They can be a member of your family, a co-worker, a friend, a stranger, or even a kid.

There a joy suckers, sympathy suckers, attention suckers, drama suckers, and just about any other kind that you can think of.

They may come to you and pour out some story that grabs your attention and you can earnestly offer some ideas or support but after about the 4th or 5th time you know that nothing you say will be tried. They don't want the answer to the problem at all. They just want your responses, your time, and your emotional investment. As soon as they tap your well dry they simply move on to the next person. When they've run through them all then they are back again, hoping that you've refilled since the last time so that they can tap in for some more.

Have you ever tried to share one of your problems with an emotional vampire? Ha! Good luck with that! They won't have time for you and they certainly won't have the energy or empathy to be able to give you any support whatsoever. In fact, they may even be offended that you even dare to bring your problem to them as it chances lowering their carefully horded supply of emotions. They'll have to leave quickly and find someone that they can talk to about how insensitive and callous you just were!

You can try telling an emotional vampire how you feel but, I can assure you, that will backfire on you. They will be either be angry that you could even think such a thing after ALL the time they've spent with you or they may appear to be crushed that think so poorly of them. Either way you'll be the bad guy and they will never admit that what you're saying has any validity whatsoever. And you shouldn't ever mention to your other friends how you feel either because they may just adore that person and tell them what you've said.

Interestingly enough, emotional vampires can be really popular people. Some people are drawn to the drama like moths to a flame. Most people are truly good-hearted and they will just keep feeding these vampires without even realizing what they are doing. In fact, it probably makes them feel GOOD for being so helpful to someone else (even if it is over and over and over again). So, seriously, keep your thoughts to yourself if you know what's good for you.

About the best way I've found to deal with these insidious creatures is to use humor in your responses to them. It doesn't quite fill them up the way your other emotional responses would and they leave still hungry. Another thing is to turn your tap off. Give short, noncommittal responses that really offer no emotion but just ackowledge that yes you hear them. Again, this will have them leaving still hungry and not quite sure why since you used to be a veritable feast up 'til now!

Anyone else ever met anyone like this? What'd you do? Enquiring minds wanna know!

Today's Plan: Eat more garlic!

EDIT: I just wanted to add that this in NO way refers to people who live everyday lives and share their joys and griefs with their friends. Friends give and take emotionally. There is always an ongoing reciprocity. Emotional vampires do NOT give back. They just drain you dry and move on to the next one. I would hate for any of my friends to suddenly feel tense or unsure about sharing with me in case they were mistaken for this. Make no mistake, I do know the difference! I would gladly want to help carry any burden for those I love. I am even apt to try to help total strangers 'cuz that's just how I'm made. All clear now?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I am ...

Just really thinking about some things lately.

Part of that can be attributed to reading thought provoking blogs like the one that
Yibbyl has right now.

Am I the person that I want to be?
If not, why?
What would I like to change about myself?
Why don't I just get busy doing that instead of just thinking or talking about it?

I would like to will be more patient (especially while driving!).
I would like to will stop being a packrat.

I would like to will stop procrastinating decisions/actions.
I would like to will start now.

Today's Plan: Load the truck and make the first delivery of stuff that I'm letting go of.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Rewind and Fast Forward ...

This has been the fastest summer ever!

I've been on vacation since last Thursday and so much has already happened.

My trip to Pasadena (to meet my fellow RadioParadisiacs) was intensely fulfilling. My internet family rocks! I'll remember this trip and these wonderful people as one of the most incredible events of my life. While I was there I went ocean fishing and didn't even get a nibble but I loved it. I wanna go again!

My goobers (15 year old twin boys for any newcomers) come home next Saturday after spending the whole summer with their dad back in Missouri (Misery!). I can't believe how much I miss them every year when this happens but I am so glad that they get to spend the time with their dad.

There is so much that I could say about the man in my life if he didn't leave me so speechless.
He amazes me on a daily basis. I love who he is and what he stands for.

He holds my hand.
He hugs me.
He watches me sleep.
He makes me smile.
He makes my heart leap in my chest.
He adds new meaning to my life.

Today's Plan: To get ready for the boys and to plan something extra fun for their homecoming!